“Everyday I’m more convinced that the best of life happens in the margins.”
- Jamie Kurtz
Have you ever felt like your life is so full or so busy that you have no margin left to deal with one more thing? If you hear one more piece of bad news, you might explode. Have you been there?
If so, or if you are there now, you have no emotional margin left in your life. Other types of margin in your life involve time, space, and relationships, but let me explain what I mean and why it’s so important.
Margins are that space around the typed page to give your eyes some space to breathe and your mind to process. If the text was crammed to the very edges, it would feel very overwhelming to read just a page or two, let alone an entire book.
It gives you time to think,
and to dream.
It revives your energy.
It allows for the curve balls of life.
It allows for serendipity.
I have been wondering if a potential downside of our driven culture is that we pack our days with so much that we have no margin left to handle anything that comes by unexpectedly. And the trouble with that is life is very unpredictable and things happen constantly that are unexpected.
Often wonderful things, like the day you met that special someone. It wasn’t on your plan for that day, was it? Hmmm, maybe there’s something important to notice about that.
My friend Jamie, who uttered the quote above was talking to a group of software developers and managers in the tech field. What he meant was that innovation, creativity, some of the best of you comes out in the unhurried moments that naturally happen in the margins.
How many stories have you heard of companies and great initiatives starting because two people are hanging out (had margin and space to be creative) and got to talking about an idea (space to dream) and were moved to create something new?
Innovators know this, and love these pregnant moments in the margins. They look expectantly towards them, knowing that great stuff comes from those margins. Businesses know the importance of margins to their viability. They are called profit margins.
So if these margins are important, and great things happen in them, I’m suggesting that you create them and welcome them in your life. Perhaps Jamie is right that the “best of life” happens in them?
I have a bruise on my nose that I’m proud of. I took my kids to the pool the other day. After sunscreen for everyone and sitting down for a bit, I got in and swam with them. Somehow, a water fight ensued. Next thing I know, 7 more neighborhood kids have joined forces with my kids to “get Dad!” Water guns are blasting, noodles are flying, moms on the side of the pool are wondering why I thwacked their kid on the head with a noodle. It was nuts. Someone jumped on my back, forcefully pulling my only protection, my sunglasses, scraping and slightly bruising the bridge of my nose.
I am proud of that bruise and that story because I wasn’t thinking about all the things I need to get done, or about what I “should” be doing with my time. I had some margin in my day, and allowed myself to fully engage with them in the moment. We had fun!
Margin invites fun. Everyone enjoys fun and could use more of it.
If I have convinced you to create more margin in your life, here are a few simple ways you can make it happen, and increase the good stuff of life.
I could go on and on with ideas but this is a good start. If ideas come to mind as you read this, just share one or two in the comment section below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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Joel is a husband, father, musician, and lover of life; especially life that is shared with the wealth of amazing friends and family he is blessed to have near.